Ditching My Phone For 10 Days Was The Best Thing I Could Do For My Family.
Ditching my phone for 10 days was the best thing I could do for my sanity, my marriage and my daughter. At the beginning of June, I decided I needed to seriously look at the amount of time I spent on my phone. Here is what happened:
Let's start on May 27th... I get home from work. Addie is playing independently on the floor. Aaron is prepping dinner. After a very busy day at work, I sat down on the couch and pulled out my phone. Part of this whole blogger life thing, requires me to have a social media presence. I decided this would be a good time to catch up on engagement and hopefully get a few new followers.
Addie: "Mommy! Mommmma! Mom!"
Me: "What baby?"
Addie: *Snaps* "Put your phone down, Momma. You look at me. Put your phone down, and look at me."
Well... $#*t. Hello Mom Guilt. Did my daughter just tell me to get off my phone and pay attention to her? Yes, yes she did. Is this my daughter's way of telling me that she feels my phone is more important to me than her? God, I hoped not.
I put my phone in my bedroom and did not touch it until Addie went to bed. After our bedtime routine, I pulled up the screen time feature on my phone... My average was 9-10 hours a day. Nine to ten hours a day, I sat on that little electronic box. Wow. I was shocked. I was angry, because the fears I felt when Addie asked me to put my phone down felt real.
The unbiased time revealed that I spent hours in social networking apps. As I thought about the time I spent on social media, I asked myself was it really worth the time. Did the hours I spent commenting and liking and repining other people's photos serve my audience? No. Did it grow my audience? No. Did it boost my ratings?
I decided that for 10 days, I would stay off my phone. The first three days were difficult. It felt like I was missing out. I felt the need to scroll and would find myself reaching for my phone, even though I knew there was nothing to do on it.
The Changes I Noticed:
I had more patience - I found that at the end of the day, I had more patience with Aaron and Addie. I did not feel as tired or as peopled-out. I found myself wanting to engage with them instead of looking for a moment of quiet or for a moment alone.
I slept better - This may come as a shock - probably not - you have seen the blue light glasses enough to realize that being on your phone at night can cause sleep disruption. In giving up my phone time in the evening, my body was able to relax and unwind from the day. I found that I fell asleep easier and stayed asleep longer without being on it in bed.
I had more time - When you aren't spending nine to ten hours a day on your phone, you find that you have a lot more time on your hands. I used this time to get house projects done, to extend Addie's play time, to practice self care and to cuddle up with my hubby. I did not realize how much time I actually spent on my phone and how productive I could be without feeling like I needed to jump on and check my numbers.
My goals shifted - My dream of being an author and public speaker had been pushed aside to achieve this task of becoming insta-popular. I was so focused on gaining new followers, increasing my monthly views that I had lost sight of what I truly started The Sunkissed Peach and all of the social channels for. I want to be a relatable and reliable resource for you. I want to connect with you and remind you that you are not alone. You, the mom, the wife, the daughter reading this. I want to connect with you. I want to empower you to love yourself wholly and well. I want you to have growing and nurturing relationships. I want you to be happy and healthy. I had lost sight of my why.
My self confidence skyrocketed - Oh my word! If you struggle with self confidence - get off social media and put your phone down. Seriously, take a break. I spent more time looking ahead of me instead of down at my phone. I was able to connect with those in front of me instead of comparing myself to those in pictures. I did not feel self conscious when it came to how I dressed, how my makeup was sitting or if my hair creased from throwing it up in a pony. I was able to just be.
What comes next?
What comes next? Am I ditching the phone for good? Well, that definitely crossed my mind. However, I do not think that is the answer. Addie is going to grow up in a world surrounded by technology. I want to show her that she can use her phone and social media as tools to connect but that she does not have to be a slave to them. I want to model healthy boundaries with her.
I will still use my phone to run my blog and use social media as a way to connect with each of you, but ultimately, I am going to remind myself that what matters most is what I want for myself and for you. That I love myself well, and prioritize my sanity. That I am able to love Aaron fully and that our marriage is exceptional. And finally, that I am able to love Addie abundantly and that I am able to show up and be present for her.
Moving forward, I plan to spend more of the time I do spend on my phone creating resources and tools for you based on that goal I mentioned above: That you will love your self and be able to protect your sanity and soul, that you will be able to love your spouse and have an exceptional marriage, and that you will be able to show up for your children and love them well.
Ditching my phone for the majority of the day is freeing. I feel lighter, happier and energetic than I have been.
You may read this and think, "Well that is great, you gave up your phone, but I cannot afford to ditch it for 10 days. There are things I have to do and people who have to get a hold of me." This may be true, what I would encourage you to do is look at the time you spend on your phone. If you have an iPhone, they will show you the break down of how much time you spend on each app. I realized that spending 9 hours on social media apps was not beneficial to my dreams, my family, my marriage or my current job. I needed to be able to reset so I chose to leave my phone in the other room when I was at home. I chose to delete apps from my phone and put it on Do not Disturb mode.
There are ways to disconnect. Even for a day. I want to encourage you to disconnect. Unplug and just be.
Throughout this blog post, I have photos of us at the zoo. We planned days out where I let others take photos and send them to me so I didn't have to be on my phone the whole day.